DIRECTOR Shane Meadows continues to prove his mastery of the coming-of-age comedy drama in this black-and-white depiction of an unlikely friendship forged in a suburb of North London.
Following the emotional sucker punch of the highly acclaimed This Is England with a more gentle effort, Meadows guides another group of inexperienced and little known but perfectly cast actors through well-worn but difficult subjects like teenage friendship and first love.
We join Polish immigrant Marek, and Tomo – played by This Is England’s stand-out performer Thomas Turgoose – who has run away from home in Nottingham, on an amusing and touching tale of platonic love.
An acoustic soundtrack plays an unobtrusive, affecting role as the pair see their relationship tested when they both fall for the same girl.
But their warm, sensitive and funny exchanges light up the monotone screen throughout.
STAR RATING: ****
GET SMART (PG) (All major cinemas)
JAMES Bond spoofs have a chequered past: from the misfiring Johnny English and lowest-common-denominator Spy Hard.
2But this feature length rendition of a cult 1960s spy comedy TV series hits more right notes, as bumbling intelligence agency analyst Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) aspires to live the glamorous life of spies.
It’s the 21st century, so Agent Smart’s squeeze is a spy too (Anne Hathaway) and Terence Stamp steps in as a post 9/11 nemesis in the Blofeld mold.
But the film’s only real star is Carrel, whose effortless charm elevates his character from just the comic catalyst for a few laughs.
This is family-friendly fare with a slickness to rival those of the franchise it parodies so well.
STAR RATING: ***